ECHOES FROM EDEN

 

Part XXXVII

 

THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

 

"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:9-10,21).

We would be totally void of understanding as to what kind of victim it was that provided this blessed covering for the sinning man and his wife, were it not that the Holy Spirit has shed precious light upon this wonder, revealing that Christ is "the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) who verily was "a LAMB without blemish or spot...foreordained before the foundation of the world" (I Pet. 1:19-20). I now invite you to meditate deeply upon my words. In the process of changing our garments, covering our nakedness, and clothing us in the righteousness of Himself God brings us to the LAMB, which has its base in the foundation of God before the world began, for Christ the Lamb was foreordained before the foundation of the world, and He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and that certainly carries us back to Eden.

Redemption is not an afterthought of God by which He hopes to salvage a few of the broken and shattered pieces of His creation. Redemption is PART OF THE PLAN OF CREATION. If the fall of man is part of the plan of God, then the redemption of the fallen creation must also be a part of the same plan issued forth from the fathomless depths of His omniscient mind. If Peter was speaking the truth when he wrote of God's Lamb, "Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you" (I Pet. 1:20), then the fall of man must certainly be a part of the plan of the Creator. For what possible purpose was the blessed redemptive Lamb foreordained before the world began if redemption itself were not already in the mind and plan of God? All Christians love to quote the Golden Text of the Bible, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..." (Jn. 3:16). Yet what is the real message of this beautiful passage? Is it not that God SO LOVED that He GAVE His Son? Does not I Pet. 1:20 make it very plain that the actual giving of that Son was before the world began and before the Garden was planted eastward in Eden? Ah, the agonies of the cross were endured only two thousand years ago, but the actual giving of the redemptive Lamb took place before the world began and the actual slaying of the Lamb took place from the foundation of the world, in the mysterious mists of the sacred Garden of long ago.

It is clear that the plan of redemption was prepared in its fullness before the voice of God ever commanded, "Let there be!" It was not completed just in case man should fall, but because the fall of man and his redemption from sin was part of the process by which he would come into God's image and live in the eternal realm as a creature of experience and knowledge, completely redeemed, completely purified, completely perfected, and completely incapable of sin forever more. Is it any wonder that John on Patmos heard every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and all that are in them exulting in such a plan as this and crying out in ecstacy, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto THE LAMB for ever and ever!" (Rev. 5:13). Creation and redemption walk hand in hand through all the pilgrim journey from Eden to the new heaven and the new earth.

The glorious theme of the Holy Scripture is the Person and Work of Him whose lovely title is "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29). This gracious title for our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed one of the most charming symbols used in the Bible to describe Him who loved us and has washed us from our sins in His own blood. Whenever the serious seeker after truth explores the meaning of the various Semitic symbols used to depict the Person or the Work of the Saviour he become aware that each stands for a specific aspect of truth. In the case of the "Lamb" it is with the truth of redemption that we deal, for redemption is by the blood of the Lamb. "Ye were not redeemed by such corruptible things as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Pet. 1:18-19).

We would have thought that in calling our Lord "the Lamb" this name would have been used only in respect to His humiliation in His earthly life. However, in Scripture it is most used in reference to His eternal glory in the heavenlies. Peter saw Him as the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world. John saw Him as a Lamb that has been slain from the foundation of the world, highly exalted, standing in the midst of the Throne. This slain Lamb is IN THE MIDST of everything: in the midst of the Throne, and of the four Living Creatures, and of the Elders. This LAMB is peculiarly the One who is IN THE MIDST of the whole creation: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created BY Him and FOR Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist...and having made peace through THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, by Him to RECONCILE ALL THINGS unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things IN EARTH, or things IN HEAVEN" (Col. 1:15-20).

The Lamb is the Temple and the Light of the New Jerusalem. It is from beneath the Throne of God and of the Lamb that the river of the water of life flows. What kind of Throne is this? It is the Throne of the Lamb with God in Him! God is in the Lamb and the Lamb is in the Throne, and the stream of Life flows out of this Throne through the glorious city of God composed of Living Stones. Oh, dear brother, sister, if you have this stream, you have the Throne, you have the Lamb and you have God within the Lamb!

THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

What is this stream of Life from the Lamb upon the Throne, and why is the Lamb so highly exalted until eternity re-echoes the song of His praise: "The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!" (Rev. 5:12). The wonderful answer comes: "Thou art worthy...FOR Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by THY BLOOD" (Rev. 5:9). It is the blood of the Lamb that bestows this glory upon Him. By His own blood He has entered the Holy of Holies, and is seated upon the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens. His blood has accomplished this. Because He humbled Himself to death, therefore God has so highly exalted Him. As the Lamb of God, meek and lowly of heart, He glorified God even to the pouring out of His life; therefore He is esteemed to be worthy of being praised for ever through the celestial song of creation: "Salvation unto our God who sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb!" The blood has effected this.

The blood of Jesus is the greatest mysteries of eternity, the deepest mystery of divine wisdom. Let us not imagine that we can easily grasp its meaning. God thought four thousand years necessary to prepare men for it, and we must take time, yea, sacrificial time in His presence, if we a to gain a knowledge of the awesome and marvelous power of the blood. I know of no word in the Bible or in human speech that contains such glories! This great and eternal truth shines with ever increasing brilliance from Eden's fragrant gardens of long ago to the jasper walls of the New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven; from Adam's covering of skins and Abel's humble sacrifice of the firstfruits of his flock to the very Throne of God Himself where, glorious in power and might, the Lamb reigns and the seven Spirits of His divine Life are sent forth into all the earth.

THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

The blood of Jesus Christ is of such vast importance to God the Father that He has decreed that there shall be (1) no remission, (2) no salvation, (3) no atonement, (4) no redemption, (5) no propitiation, (6) no cleansing, (7) no justification, (8) no peace, (9) no new covenant, (10) no sanctification, (11) no reconciliation, (12) no entrance into the Holy of Holies, and (13) no Sonship, without the blood of Jesus Christ whose blood is called by Paul the BLOOD OF GOD (Acts 20:28; Heb. 10:19-20).

There is a reference in I Pet. 1:18-19 concerning the PRECIOUS BLOOD of Christ. Multiplied millions of Christians in all lands hold the blood of the Christ to be precious. The word PRECIOUS means of great price of value, costly, of great desirability, honored, esteemed or beloved. But there must be a reason why the blood is precious! Through many years of my Christian walk I never learned of any REASON why it is esteemed except that God counts it to be the most valuable and precious of all blood to Him.

I was never told whether it was intrinsically valuable or if it was valuable because of what it could and did accomplish. To be intrinsically valuable or precious means that it is of itself precious and does not necessarily need to accomplish any work to get its value. For example, the value of precious gems is determined not so much from their usefulness as from their intrinsic value and the desire that people have to own them. My sincere prayer is that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from on High may enlighten the eyes of our understanding until we can clearly see that the blood of Jesus Christ was and is precious both in respect to its INTRINSIC VALUE and because of WHAT IT COULD AND DID AND DOES NOW DO.

The mystery of the blood is far too intricate for my little mind to fully grasp, but there is a most interesting statement found in the very first command which God gave to man after the awful judgment of the flood of Noah. After the wickedness of man had reached its peak in antediluvian days, God, in order to spare the human race from complete corruption sent a great flood upon the earth and destroyed all men except one single family which by the grace of God had still remained "perfect in his generations." With this new family on a cleansed and renewed earth, the Lord begins a new chapter in the history of humanity. No sooner had God, however, released Noah from the ark, than He gave him some instructions concerning his conduct, lest another judgment fall upon them. Chief among these instructions was the commandment, "Eat no blood." "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" (Gen. 9:3-4).

Because life is in the blood, and not in the flesh of God's creatures, He permitted men to eat flesh but it must be without blood. God is very insistent on this point. In giving the national dietary and ceremonial laws to Israel He repeats the prohibition of Gen. 9:4. "And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel...that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. FOR THE LIFE OF THE FLESH IS IN THE BLOOD" (Lev. 17:10-11). God says, "It is sin to eat any manner of blood." So serious was this sin that the transgressor was to be put to death. Meat which had not been thoroughly drained of its blood was unfit for food as well as all things strangled. Today, the orthodox Jew at least, still remembers this prohibition, and will eat nothing but kosher meat, this is, meat which is without blood and slaughtered according to the law. Every kosher meat market and every bit of kosher food is evidence of the sacredness of blood!

God's commands are never arbitrary but always logical, reasonable and with divine purpose. Many reasons can be found for abstaining from blood. We might mention the reasons of health and hygiene, but there are two reasons which stand out most prominent. First, the life is in the blood and life is sacred. It was God's special gift and the effect of His own breath. Moses tells us in Genesis this wonderful and little understood fact: "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and BREATHED into his nostrils the BREATH OF LIFE; and man of the dust became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). Truly do I declare unto you that a profound mystery lies here! Since life is in the blood, all flesh is lifeless without blood. Here then is Adam formed of the dust. Just a lump of matter without life. God breathes into his nostrils and lo, he lives. Since the life is in the blood, it is my deep conviction that it was blood which God added to that body when He breathed into him the breath of life! Not the mortal, corruptible, dead blood that flows in mankind's veins today. Adam's body was of the earth but his blood was DIRECTLY FROM GOD. Since the life of all flesh is in the blood, and in view of the fact that God typified the regeneration of man's blood by the slain animals of Israel's altars, God demands that we respect the life of all flesh and to eat blood, therefore, is to insult the life of God!

Ah, the power of the blood is in the worth of the life. In the blood of Jesus THE POWER OF THE DIVINE LIFE DWELT and worked - hence its intrinsic value. He was the Son of God by conception but the son of man by birth. He was a specially prepared body to contain a specially prepared blood that was to be THE LIFE of all humanity. This blood was precious from the fact that it was a unique blood which would do something for all humanity that no other blood could ever do. It was the Word that became flesh, who was made man. It was the life of God that dwelt in Him. That life gave His blood, every drop of it, an infinite value. The blood of a man is more worth than that of s sheep. The blood of a king or a great general is counted of more value than hundreds of common soldiers. The blood of the Son of God! - it is in vain the mind seeks for some expression of its value; all we can say is, it is His own blood, the precious blood of the Son of God!

Jesus came as the Head of an entirely new creation. In fact He Himself WAS A NEW CREATURE, different from any that had ever been. I want to make it very plain that Jesus was in no way derived from the first Adam, either by flesh or by blood. If He had even one ounce of the first Adam's blood flowing through His veins, then He Himself NEEDED A SAVIOUR. Hear now what Paul says of the Christ: "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (I Cor. 15:45-47). Jesus was not fifty percent the first Adam and fifty percent the last Adam. He was one hundred percent the last Adam! He was not fifty percent the first man and fifty percent the second man. He was not fifty percent the man of the earth and fifty percent the Lord from heaven. The second man IS (100%) THE LORD FROM HEAVEN. To be the last Adam He could in no way contain any part of the first Adam. To be the man from heaven He must not be a descendant of the man of the earth. He must be an entirely NEW KIND OF MAN, separate from every other creation of God, as was the first man Adam in the day when he was created. The first Adam was truly without father, without mother, and without descent - he was not derived from the life of any other man who had ever lived. So the last Adam! Though He was conceived IN the womb of Mary, He was not OF Mary. He was not formed from a union of the sperm of God with the ovum of Mary. His genes were not half from Mary and half from His heavenly Father. "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called THE SON OF GOD," declared the angel to Mary. He was as truly man, as truly flesh as was the first man, but He was also as truly a UNIQUE CREATION OF GOD as was the first man in Eden.

Oh the mystery of it! Jesus the Christ was THE WORD M-A-D-E F-L-E-S-H, He was not old Adam's flesh imbued with God's life. He was the SECOND MAN, the Man from heaven, the God-man, Head of a new species of men, a new creation of God in the earth, each member of which is a SON OR DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH!

The life is in the blood. As the value of this life, so the value of the blood. In Christ there was the life of God; infinite as God is the worth and the power of that blood! In Christ there was the life of man in its perfection; in His humility, and obedience to the Father, and self-sacrifice, that which made Him unspeakably well-pleasing to the Father. That blood of Jesus, God and man, poured out in death, that was a perfect fulfillment of God's will, and a perfect victory over all the temptations of sin and self, effected an everlasting atonement for sin, and put it forever out of the way, destroying death and him that had the power of it. Therefore it was, that in the blood of the everlasting covenant Jesus was raised from the dead; that in His blood, as our Head and Surety, He entered the highest heaven; and THAT PRECIOUS BLOOD IS NOW AND FOR EVER AVAILABLE TO US WITH ALL ITS INCORRUPTIBLE POWER.

Beloved Sons and Daughters of God! The blood of Jesus! The blood of the Lamb! Oh think what it means. God gave it for your redemption from Adam's race and your transformation into the image of God. God accepted it when the firstborn of the new creation entered heaven and presented it on your behalf. God points you to it and ask you to believe in its omnipotent energy, in its everlasting sufficiency. Ah, this heavenly man was injected into a whole world full of men descended from the earth-man to impart something we had lacked from the day Adam was driven from Eden's portals. That something was LIFE, LIVING BLOOD, for He said He came to give life to the world. He could impart a life to the world that would change it completely.

When Adam transgressed, the life of God, which had been breathed into his nostrils, departed from him and all that was left was a residue, that mortal something which flowed as blood in the veins of his body. This blood contains nothing of the life of God and in its composition and nature is similar to the blood of the animal kingdom, for when the glorious power of divine life departed from Adam, he entered into the kingdom of death. Adam was made a living soul. From the Greek statement reads, "The first man Adam was made a zoe psuche (living soul). Zoe, throughout the entire Greek New Testament, is always used in reference to the LIFE OF GOD. Psuche, on the other hand, is used of the natural life of animals and men. This life, zoe, is the life Jesus promised to give to man when He said, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish," and this, beloved, is the LIFE THAT DEPARTED FROM ADAM when he transgressed, leaving him ashamed, fearful and dead. The life is in the blood, but our blood, being devoid of eternal (zoe) life, is in reality dead blood and capable of sustaining only physical (psuche) life, and that only poorly until man returns to the dust from whence he came. It is not without significance that, when the bodies of men are emblamed, the first act is to remove the corruptible blood that the dead body may be better preserved. Instead of incorruptible and, therefore, deathless blood, Adam's blood corrupted through sin and became subject to death. To redeem this dead sinner, life must be again imparted. The only remedy for death is LIFE. This life is in the blood, and so blood must be furnished which is sinless and incorruptible. Now none of Adam's race could do this, for in "Adam all died." There was only one, yes, ONLY ONE, who could furnish that blood, the virgin-born Son of God, the man from heaven, with a human body, but sinless supernatural blood, inseminated by the Holy Ghost.

Jesus came to bring life to the world. Here is where His blood differed from the ordinary blood or life of men. His blood was precious in that it was able to do something for all mankind which mankind's own blood or life could not do. The natural blood or life of mankind was only for a few years at most, but the blood of the Christ was the LIFE OF THE AGES. So there must somehow be a discontinuance of the blood of a few years, that the blood or the LIFE OF THE AGES might be injected into mankind.

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). It was impossible for the blood of Old Testament sacrifices to take away sin because that blood was dead blood. There was no power of life in it. Nevertheless, because of the faith of the worshippers in that BETTER BLOOD which was to come, those animal sacrifices were accepted by God for the time then present or for the time being, and by this faith the worshippers were sanctified, and being thus accepted by God they patiently awaited the day when the BETTER BLOOD OF THE LAMB OF GOD, in which was eternal life, would not only remove their sin, but erase the sentence of death, quickening them in spirit and transfusing their beings with the incorruptible blood of the man from heaven. We say, and rightly so, for the Scripture says, that Christ died for us. There is marvelous significance in those words, however, for when He died He GAVE HIS LIFE TO US. The precious blood that drained from His body on the cross is now manifest as THE SPIRIT, the LIGHT OF LIFE. That eternal life, which two thousand years ago was confined to the blood of His body, now, being loosed by death, is SHED ABROAD to become available as life eternal to all who believe. By the shedding of His blood life was given. By the receiving of His life DEATH IS CANCELLED. In the light of life darkness flees away! Hallelujah for the blood!

THE CLEANSING OF THE BLOOD

In the service of God as ordained by the hand of Moses for Israel, there were two ceremonies to be observed by God's people in preparation for approach unto Him. These were the SACRIFICES and the CLEANSINGS. Both were to be observed but in different manners. Both were to typify the REDEMPTION by which the Lord Jesus Christ would restore man to right relationship with God. As a rule it is only the sacrifices which are regarded as typical of redemption through Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews, however, points out that the DIVERS WASHINGS as well as the SACRIFICES were figures "for the time then present" of the "good things to come" through the High Priestly ministry of Jesus Christ and His blood.

We are told in I Jn. 1:7 that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son CLEANSETH US from all sin." This word CLEANSETH does not refer to the forgiveness received when we first believe in Christ; but to the effect of God's grace IN God's children who WALK IN THE LIGHT. We read, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light...the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, CLEANSETH us from all sin." That it refers to something more than pardon appears from what follows in verse 9: - "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness."

There are two kinds of functions of the blood of Christ. One is to take away or kill, and the other is to add or supply. On the one hand it takes away the negative elements we should not have in us, and on the other hand it adds in the positive elements that we should have in us. What is taken away is the element of Adam in us, and what is added is the element of Christ as the new creation life. What is taken away is old, and what is added is new. What is taken away is earthly, and what is added is heavenly. What is taken away is dead, and what is added is living. When the precious manifest within us: one is to gradually take away all of our old creation, and the other is to gradually add all of God's new creation. In this way HIS LIFE within us gradually increases.

It is like the blood in our physical body, which contains two kinds of elements: the white corpuscles and the red corpuscles. White corpuscles have one function, to kill germs; the red blood corpuscles also have one function, to supply nourishment. When the blood circulated and flows within us, the white corpuscles kill and clean up the germs which have invaded our body, while the red blood corpuscles supply every part of our entire body with needed nourishment. Likewise, when the blood of the Lamb works within us, or when the life of God works within us, the two elements, life and death, contained in the life of God have the functions of killing and supplying us with spiritual nourishment, which consist of the life and nature and power of God Himself.

Concerning the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, no greater statement of truth was ever made than that given by John in Rev. 1:5, "Unto Him that loved us, and WASHED us from our sins in His own blood." Some modern translations substitute the word "freed" for "washed", but a look at the Greek word shows that they are in error. The word is "louo" meaning TO BATHE THE WHOLE PERSON in the same way clothes are laundered in water. But praise be to God! this is not an outer washing but an INNER CLEANSING.

One aspect of the power of the blood of Jesus lies in its ability to ABSORB all that is in the blood or the life of the Adamic man. In I Pet. 2:24 we read, "Who His own self BARE OUR SINS in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should LIVE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS." This One who hung upon the cross possessed a life or a BLOOD that would course its way through the veins of our inner nature and REMOVE all our sins, infirmities and death. It is very wonderful and thrilling to many Christians to stand up and testify that they have been washed in the blood of Jesus. But if you would ask them to explain HOW they were washed in the blood, about the only answer many could give is that it was by faith. The Christian who has testified concerning being washed in the blood of Jesus has been unable to tell how simply because he overlooked one word that he was using. That word is WASHED. We have somehow in the past unconsciously given to that word WASH, as used in connection with the blood of Jesus, some special meaning. It must be that we have not been able to associate such a common and lowly procedure as washing clothes with the work done by the blood of the Lamb. And that is just where we have missed the whole thing!

I would point you to this simple and self-evident fact: WHAT IS TO BE WASHED IS DIRTY. That is the reason for its being washed. It is filthy and it NEEDS to be washed. And the result of the washing is that the article becomes clean! Ah - what a good feeling it is after a day of sweaty, dirty work, to come home, take a good bath, and get into some clean clothing. The dirt and grime and filth of the work has been WASHED AWAY and we feel like a new person. All the members of Adam's fallen race need washing! Not physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The mind and the heart and the nature of mankind are as full of the filth of the flesh as it is possible to be. The life of the blood flowing in the veins of the unregenerated man is as full of filth and death as is the man, so it can do nothing to cleanse. We know what it means to wash our clothes in water, how they are plunged into it and saturated with it, for several minutes agitated and moved about in it until the dirt is softened and loosened, it is then removed and SUSPENDED IN THE WATER and carried away. The water has TAKEN UNTO ITSELF all the defilement that was in the clothing. After some rinsings the clothes are taken out of the washer, sparkling clean, and with none of the filth that was in them in the beginning. Such is the process used today by millions in the washing of clothing. Yet this has not generally been associated with the wonderful washing process that mankind goes through in the blood of Jesus.

Where does this washing take place, and what is it that is washed? It is the heart. It is in deep, hidden, inner life of man that this effect of the blood, the life, the Spirit of Christ is experienced. Sin has penetrated into the heart, and the whole nature has become saturated with it. The blood too must PENETRATE THE NATURE; as deeply as the power of sin has gone, so deeply must the inner nature be cleansed by the blood. This is wrought by the daily experiencing of HIS LIFE in the nitty-gritty of everyday experience. This is not some mushy spiritual experience at the altar, but the APPROPRIATING OF HIS LIFE in each problem, trial, temptation, testing, and difficulty we encounter, until self and sin are completely dealt with, washed away, and the mind and will of Christ reign supreme in our lives. Clothes are AGITATED when they are being washed, in the old days and still in many areas of the world they are beaten with rocks. Ah, we hope to kneel on a thick carpet before a plush altar and experience the wonderful cleansing of the blood of Jesus, but it can never be so, my friend. It is in the midst of all the agitation of pressures of life, in confusion, crisis, trouble, pain and despair that we encounter HIS LIFE as the answer, and submitting, experience a mighty and eternal cleansing. Where sin ruled, His life must rule. Where self reigned, there the blood must reign. Where the flesh manifests its lively activities, there the Spirit of the Son must conquer, bringing righteousness, peace and joy. It is in the hearts of men that the cleansing by the blood must take place. Out of the heart "are the issues of life" - just in proportion as the heart is cleansed, so the entire life is cleansed, the whole man outwardly and inwardly is TRANSFORMED by the power of the blood!

THE LIGHT OF LIFE

There is a wonderful statement in the Song of Solomon where the Shulamite maiden, beautiful type of God's apprehended ones, the elect, says, "My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand" (S. of S. 5:10). This was in answer to a question put forth by the "daughters of Jerusalem". The daughters of Jerusalem represent those who are truly people of God, saved by grace, but who never grow up to maturity, they fail to GO ON to perfection, and do not enter into intimacy of fellowship and vital union with HIM - thus, are no part of that blessed company of overcomers that presses toward the mark for the prize of the high Calling of God, to fully share HIS LIFE. These daughters of Jerusalem ask the Shulamite, "What is Thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women?" (S. of S. 5:9).

As the Shulamite pursues her beloved King the flame of her zeal burns brighter; the faster she hastens through the streets to find Him, the more wonderful he appears to her soul. In her marvelous description of her Beloved, she mentions, first of all, the combined, though contrasted colors, "white and red". To a superficial reader, this might signify only health and beauty. Let us bear in mind that the daughters of Jerusalem did no ask for a description of her Beloved. They inquired in what He differed from, or was more than another beloved. You see, the daughters of Jerusalem always have lovers other then Christ - lovers of earthly things, jobs, homes, cars, hobbies; lovers of men, personalities, preachers, someone whom they can follow and commit the care of their souls to; lovers of religiosity, denominations, church systems, multiplied religious works, ritual, ceremony, sacraments etc. - all of which supplant a living relationship with Christ alone. The Shulamite needs and desires nothing but HIM, while the daughters of Jerusalem find many other things just as important in their lives as Him. So they asked concerning the distinguishing features that belong to Him alone, what it is that the Shulamite sees in HIM that causes her to forsake all else for the knowing and possessing of HIM. From the question asked and the motive in asking it, we see at once that "white and ruddy" do not have the significance of "health" when used by the Shulamite to describe the King.

These two colors make her Beloved different from, and more than every other beloved. They, above all, make the Christ of God different from, and more than all others. They, more than all else, make Him the only fruitful Tree in all the forest of the sons of men. These two colors distinguish Him and mark Him out before all eyes; and because of which, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The meaning of the word "white" is "dazzling, bright, illuminated by the sun, sunny." Dazzling white, as the brightest sunlight. The meaning of the word "ruddy" is "red; to show blood, to dye or make red." The one name above all other names, by which the Christ of God is known, is "the Lamb". This is the name by which He is known as the sacrifice of God. John the Baptist calls Him "The Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." It is the pure, spotless Lamb of God to which the sacrifices of the Israelite worship pointed, and whom they foreshadowed.

It is so wonderful and increasingly precious to remember that the word "Lamb" is always applied to Jesus in connection with His redeeming blood - His transforming life. In Revelation, we not told that Christ is in the midst of the Throne and of the four Living Creatures and Elders; but we are told that A LAMB stood there as though it had been slain. Here is brought forth the "white and the red" of the spotless slain Lamb. We are not told that Christ is the light of the Heavenly City, but "THE LAMB is the light thereof." That City of Living Stones is not called the bride Christ, for the angel said to John, "Come hither, I will show the bride, the LAMB'S WIFE."

The characteristic of the meaning of "white", namely, "dazzling, illuminated, and shining as the sun," were literally manifested in the transfiguration of Christ on the mount. We are told in Mat. 17:2 that "He was transfigurated before them; and His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as the light." In the ninth chapter of Mark, we are told that "His garments became glistering," which, in the Greek means: "To lighten forth, flash forth like lightning." Within that form that was marred more than the sons of men, dwelt glory ineffable. As He prayed upon the Mount of Transfiguration, He opened a little way the robe of humanity with which He had covered Himself when He came down to earth, and His majesty and glory burst forth! None can overlook the precious significance here, when this Scripture is compared with the clause that we are now considering in the Song of Solomon. The Shulamite declares that her Beloved is "white", or that He is dazzling, white as the light, shining as though illuminated by a mighty sun.

Ah - was this not a "breaking forth" of the glory of the incorruptible blood of God flowing through the veins of His perfect humanity? With this wonderful thought in our minds let us with humble reverence consider the words of the apostle John in Jn. 1:1,4. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was LIFE; and the LIFE was the LIGHT OF MEN." Notice the words: IN HIM WAS L-I-F-E. Now: THE LIFE IS I-N T-H-E B-L-O-O-D. Finally: THE LIFE WAS THE L-I-G-H-T OF MEN. In these statements we discover three synonyms: life, light, and blood. In an article that has come across my desk are found these words of truth: "You have heard of the light of a candle. You have heard of the light of the stars. You have heard of the light of the moon. You have heard of the light of the sun. But this is the light of life. When men speak of the light of the sun, we understand. When they speak of the light of the moon, we understand. May we not now understand the truth of Christ's words: the light of life? I doubt not that my next sentence will be a disturbing jolt to the understanding of many, but the truth as I see it is simply this: Life and light and blood are one and the same thing, manifest on three levels just as vapor and water and ice are one and the same thing on different levels. I am well aware that what I am saying is entirely new and may come as a shock to many who read...a proper understanding of it will assist us to grasp the greatness of that prominent Bible theme, the precious blood of Christ. Not only will we better grasp its meaning, but we will know why that precious blood of Christ is THE LIFE OF THE WORLD. I see no way that we can avoid the conclusion that His LIFE BLOOD is in fact RESURRECTION itself. It redeems from sin, because sin found man in life and brought him to death, but the blood of Christ, which is eternal life, finding man in death, brought life, and that is what redemption is."

The glory of the transfiguration was the momentary unveiling of the glorious heavenly light of Christ's blood-life. It was in truth the manifestation of the light of life promised by our Lord Jesus in Jn. 8:12: "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the LIGHT OF LIFE." It shone from His face. It glistered from His garments. It surrounded Him like a halo. His eyes were like lamps of fire - the light that swallows up all darkness and death of the carnal realm. There in the Mount of Transfiguration His disciples beheld Him in the glory of the light of life of His incorruptible blood. This was resurrection life, kingdom life, incorruptible life. And, beloved, this beautiful picture tells us what OUR INCORRUPTIBLE BODIES WILL BE, the glistering light of life that Christ Himself actually is.

When Jesus burst out of the tomb in resurrection He came forth in the full brilliance of this divine light of life. In this glory Paul saw Him in his Damascus vision, a light brighter than the noonday sun (Acts 26:13-14), and in this way John beheld Him in the wonder of His Patmos vision (Rev. 1:16). This, my dearly beloved, is the full and glorious and eternal reality of the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST. It is the blood, yea, the life the saints will possess when the fullness of His resurrection has been experienced in spirit, and in soul, and in body.

OVERCOMING BY THE BLOOD

If your desire is to truly be an overcomer in all things, a part of the firstfruit of God's redemption in this hour, a most wonderful key is found in I Jn. 1:7. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST GOD'S SON CLEANSETH US FROM A-L-L S-I-N." There is a WAY for the Lord's people to be freed from ALL SIN! "If we walk in the light." How? "AS HE IS in the light." Do not forget for one moment, dear ones, that the life is the light and the blood is the life. To walk in the light as He is in the light means to walk in the LIFE as HE is in the LIFE. There is a great principle here.

Paul says in Rom. 8:1-2, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE in Christ Jesus hath made free from the law of sin and death." What makes me free from the law (power) of sin and death? Why, the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE makes me free! Do we not understand that life swallows up death and light dispells darkness? His precious life-blood (Spirit) flowing through our lives accomplishes this.

But haven't we always had it turned around in our thinking? How many of us have been struggling to "die" so we can live! How often have we told ourselves, "If I can get rid of my OLD MAN, if only I can conquer this habit, this temper, this unruly tongue, this lust, this nature, this...this...this... THEN I will have the LIFE of Christ manifested in me!" We have tried to get rid of sin so we could have righteousness. We have made valiant efforts at conquering the death in us so we would have life. We have worked at eradicating all the darkness from our lives so we could walk in the light. Dearly beloved friends, we have had the cart before the horse! That is like saying, "I will stand here in this dark room and rebuke the darkness, and when all the darkness has departed I shall have light." The simple fact is you can rebuke the darkness until they carry your dead body out tot he mortuary but IT WILL NEVER LEAVE UNTIL YOU TURN ON THE LIGHT. There is no vacuum machine that can suck up darkness, no chemical that disintegrates it, no force that can move it. The problem is not to get rid of the darkness, but to produce the light!

The LAW OF LIGHT is that it always dispels darkness. It never fails! So if you have been trying to get rid of the darkness of the carnal mind you, the motions of the flesh in you, by rebuking it, fighting it, struggling with it, efforts at self-reformation, praying to be delivered from it, having hands laid on you for it - FORGET IT! None of those things can remove the darkness in a man. Only the LIGHT can do that! Brother, sister, TURN ON THE LIGHT in your life, expose yourself to the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, thrust yourself into the living stream of His precious blood, and the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF HIS LIFE working powerfully within will begin to make you free from the law of sin and death. You can't take death out of a corpse to make it live, but put LIFE IN IT and it will live! And there is no way that you can remove the law of sin and death from your heart and nature, but you can take the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ into you and the death will be swallowed up!

I have had the experience of becoming so involved with the pressures of everyday living until the vital presence of God was crowded out of my life. This has usually happened when I failed to give myself daily to prayer, praise, the Word of God and fellowship with those of like precious faith. When we spend all our spare time visiting with friends in carnal things, reading the newspaper, watching television, tinkering with hobbies, and multiplied other natural activities THE SPIRIT IS CROWDED OUT OF OUR LIVES, the flow of His life-blood stops. How filled our lives are with EARTHLY THINGS! Constantly going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing. Occasionally we spend a few minutes in prayer, or in the Word, or in blessed fellowship with some brother or sister, or time wasted in some dead meeting, and then we wonder WHY there is no power in our lives and WHY we are not overcomers!

There is a LAW OF LIFE that must be at work in us. But you don't really need to be concerned about the LAW of life, you just need the LIFE! The law will work naturally. When the life is there the law will work. When the law is working the power of darkness and death is annulled, the negative realm is neutralized. Therefore, seek LIFE! If the glorious presence of God, the light of life, can keep me in a spiritual state of overcoming victory for TEN MINUTES...or for TWO HOURS... or for THREE DAYS...then that same anointing of HIS LIFE WITHIN can keep me in that condition of victory for as long as THE FLOW OF HIS LIFE IS MAINTAINED, THIS is the absolute unfailing KEY to overcoming! Death always sets in any member of the body where the flow of blood is prevented. Maintain the flow of the precious blood of the Christ and you will have little trouble with the flesh.

"And they overcome him by the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 12:11). All who would be Sons of God must overcome the dragon of the carnal mind and the beastly nature of Adam. In proportion as we live in close and abiding contact with the blood we shall experience increasingly its powerful, omnipotent effects. He who gives himself up to continual intercourse with THE LAMB, who joins us in one spirit with Himself, will experience through His blood a TRIUMPHANT LIFE beyond his conception. He will see the law of life at work. The old carnality, the old desires, the old thoughts, the old frustrations will begin to fade away, becoming dimmer and dimmer in his life. Ah, precious saint of God, try no longer to "get rid of," or "quit doing," or "kill," or "die," or "change," anything! Only expose your whole being to the light and you will begin to live by the life of God's dear Son.

The blood of Jesus is described as a "fountain opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanness" (Zech. 13:1). By faith I place myself in closest touch with this heavenly stream. I yield myself to it, I let it cover me, penetrate into my deepest being, and go through me. I cannot withhold its cleansing, sanctifying, transforming, and glorying power. I must in faith turn away from all that is seen, to plunge into that spiritual fountain, with the assurance that it will manifest its blessed power in me. WE ARE BEING CHANGED - "even as by the Spirit of the Lord." God is seeking the fully developed life of His Son in us in order to manifest HIMSELF through us as the central revelation of Himself to the Whole Creation. God in the Lamb IN YOU is His purpose! So let us with childlike, persevering, expectant faith, open wide our souls to an ever increasing experience of the wonderful power of the blood of the Lamb.

J. PRESTON EBY

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